Alabama Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa Out For Season, Mac Jones To Take Over
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a major hip injury in the final minutes of the first half against Mississippi State on Saturday.
According to the teams's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lyle Cain, the 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up is expected to make a full recovery. But he's done for the season.
Redshirt sophomore Mac Jones will take over as the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback with just two games remaining in the regular season.
Tagovailoa finished his junior year with 2,584 passing yards and 31 touchdowns with a 70.9 completion percentage and a passer rating of 204.9. On the ground, the junior quarterback also had 25 rushing yards on 21 attempts with two touchdowns.
With a 35-7 lead and just over three minutes remaining, Tagovailoa was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled to the left side of the field, throwing the football away as he was taken down by two Bulldog defenders. Tagovailoa’s helmet came off as his head hit the ground, sending the medical staff immediately onto the field with the young quarterback clutching his head.
When Tagovailoa was finally brought to his feet, the training staff had draped a towel over his face to hide bleeding. However, that wasn’t the worst of it. Tagovailoa was unable to walk more than a few feet, and the medical cart was sent out onto the field. After picking up Tagovailoa, the cart immediately went to the locker room.
According to ESPN’s Molly McGrath, Tagovailoa was screaming in pain as he was taken off the field. McGrath was able to catch an interview with Alabama head coach Nick Saban heading into halftime.
“Well he hurt his hip,” Saban said. “I don’t know anything else more than that. They took him in to look at him, so we’ll see what’s happening. That was going to be his last series. We were gonna do two-minute before half with some different practice and of course we got to block them better so he doesn’t get sacked but too bad.”
Prior to Tagovailoa’s final drive, Jones was seen warming up on the sidelines, and it appeared that he was going to head into the game for the Crimson Tide.
When McGrath asked Saban if Tagovailoa had lobbied to be put back into the game, Saban adamantly said that he had not.
“No,” Saban said. “We were gonna put Mac [Jones] in and we said ‘well look we’ll let Tua [Tagovailoa] do two-minute before the half just for practice’ and you know I don’t worry about players getting hurt but certainly don’t want to see anybody get hurt especially him.”
Prior to his injury, Tagovailoa was looking like the consistent quarterback that Alabama fans have come to know and love, throwing 14-for-18 with 256 yards and two touchdowns.
After the game, Saban gave an update on Tagovailoa.
“We know [Tagovailoa] has a hip injury that is going to be evaluated,” Saban said. “I don’t think it’s related to any other injury he had. It’s kind of a freak thing that you know you seldom see. I don’t really have anything else to say about that, and we’ll kind of go from there.”
Tagovailoa was flown to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham for evaluation. The severity of his injury is still unknown.
“We hate it that he got injured,” Saban said. “We hate it for him, we hate it for his family. I hate it if any player on our team gets injured, so Godspeed to him and his entire family and our thoughts and prayers are with him and hope that this is not so serious that it has any long-term affect on his future as a player.”
Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead also commented on Tagovailoa’s injury after the game.
“You hate it for any kid to get hurt,” Moorhead said. “He’s such a great player and a great representative of college football. They’re having a very good year. You don’t want it to happen. I feel for him, and I’m sure he’ll be able to bounce back quickly.”
Several hours after the game, Alabama’s worst fears were realized. The Athletic broke the news that Tagovailoa would reportedly be out for the remainder of the season with a dislocated hip with a posterior wall fracture.
Later on in the evening, the report was confirmed in a statement issued by Alabama Athletics, albeit without the fracture.
After Tagovailoa’s injury, Jones took over the game for the Crimson Tide. On the day, Jones went 7-for-11 with 94 yards and no touchdowns. Saturday in Starkville was the second time this season that Jones had to come in for Tagovailoa after an injury, the first time being the Oct. 19 matchup against Tennessee.
While Jones didn’t register a touchdown for Alabama, he also had no turnovers in the game, providing the consistency that the Crimson Tide needed to ride out the game.
“I thought Mac [Jones] played well,” Saban said. “I talked to Mac last night and I talked to Tua [Tagovailoa] last night both. They knew exactly how we were going to play this game today relative to how Tua was before the game and you know Mac was good with it and I thought Mac did a good job in the game. I thought he had the right mindset. I thought he practiced well all week and I think he was well-prepared for the game and we had confidence in him to go in and play the game.”
In his lone start this season against Arkansas, Jones performed well with adequate preparation time, going 18-for-22 with 231 passing yards, three touchdowns and a rating of 216.5. If Alabama wants to keep its postseason hopes alive, Jones will have to pick up where his predecessor left off, and those are some mighty big shoes to fill.
Regardless, all eyes will be on the redshirt-sophomore quarterback next week when Alabama hosts Western Carolina at Bryant-Denny Stadium.